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Gifted Education Conference features Kids Like Blues Band’s work!

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The Kids Like Blues Band‘s work was recently featured at the California Association for the Gifted “Magic of The Mind” 51st Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA.

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Kids Like Blues guitarist and classroom teacher Jon Schwartz was the featured presenter at the workshop  “Using the Performing Arts to Teach The Academic Standards“. He shared videos that the class has worked on, which illustrate how they use classic American blues music to teach language arts, English fluency, US History, technology like blogs and Photoshop, the visual and performing arts, and self-esteem.

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Although we’re known to many as the “World’s Youngest Blues Band”, our performing work, videos, and recordings are merely the icing on the cake. We actually are a 30 member second grade class from a public school in Oceanside, CA, and we use blues music as a thematic teaching tool to cover academic standards.

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One might ask, “How do you have time to include the performing arts when you are responsible for teaching academics?”  The answer, as proven by how much our kids are learning, is that the performing arts provide a unifying theme that cohesively bind the different academic disciplines in an engaging and meaningful way. In fact, as you will see below, the State Board of Education requests that teachers link the different academic disciplines together in creative and interesting ways.

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As you can see in the composite image above, in “A Message from The State Board of Education” which prefaces the academic standards document, the State Board of Education says “ Educators should take every opportunity to link reading and writing to other core curricula, including history, social science, mathematics, science, and the visual and performing arts, to help students achieve success in all areas.” 

So the work that we are doing isn’t a diversion from the academic work we have to cover, it’s an effective way of delivering it, and the kids love it!

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We also have made some great pro-quality recordings of some blues classics and the kids are involved in the editing and recording processes. Watch and listen to the Kids Like Blues Band performing “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Let it Rock!”

Our innovative cross-curricular work has been featured by the US Dept. of Education and KPBS, and we’ve played on live TV, for talent shows, on college campuses, and even at corporate leadership conferences.

In fact, we just had a “gig’ this week where we played for the Sage Hospitality 2013 Leadership Conference at the Del Mar Hilton. The company wanted to show their national management staff how we work together to accomplish neat things, even at such a young age. We had a blast and the company kindly paid for our transportation to the resort and donated much-needed laptops to our classroom! Details and pics to follow in the next blog post….

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Our Goal

Once we’ve used the music as a springboard to teach academic content standards, our goal is to take our work to completion by performing it onstage and recording it together in digital multitrack audio and video editing programs.

The students even learn how to operate programs like iMovie, Photoshop and Garage Band.

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So far our performances have included playing a street fair, for a large audience of staff and students at the Cal State San Marcos College of Education and on local TV news and KPBS TV (watch these performances on our videos page). We're a real band, and we're learning and rocking! We have about ten songs in our repertoire.

For Your Further Interest

Check out these educational links, including Mr. Schwartz's approach to using fishing and hands-on science to motivate and engage students.

Social Connect

We invite you to use the Facebook & Twitter links above to get the very latest on our music and appearances.

Video: Sweet Home Chicago

Kids Like Blues Plays Sweet Home Chicago
Click video still to watch the Kids Like Blues Band music video, "Sweet Home Chicago."

Blues & Thematic Teaching


Click video still to view how our program works and details how we cover specific academic content standards.

In the News

We have been featured by US Dept. of Education, KPBS, and more. Click here to view what all the buzz is about.